Many resources exist to help directors manage their public computing needs. KDLA maintains the KY Tech listserv, which is open to anyone interested in technology in libraries. The mailing list includes directors as well as technology staff. Traffic is not high, but it is an excellent forum to ask questions related to technology issues and learn what other libraries are doing. For more information, see KDLA’s listserv page.
Other valuable resources include other library directors, who are always ready to share their solutions. If a nearby library has a knowledgeable tech person, their director may be willing to briefly loan their expertise. The school system’s technology staff could be another resource. Several libraries use school technology staff to provide part-time support after school hours.
Numerous resources exist online for help with public computing issues. Webjunction, the online “learning place for libraries,” has pages devoted to both managing and networking public computers, in addition to many other technology topics. Resources include hour-long webinars, documents, and checklists.
TechSoup is indispensable for several reasons. First, and most importantly, the non-profit offers deep discounts on software and hardware donated by companies like Microsoft and Adobe. Libraries and other non-profits are qualified to purchase through TechSoup. Libraries are not required to have 501(c)(3) status to qualify. For more information, visit their library donations page or subscribe to new product alerts. Click on the envelope in the upper left corner of the TechSoup page and add your email address to subscribe.
TechSoup for Libraries is a one-stop shop for information and technology needs. The blog is updated frequently and provides brief informational articles and announcements for upcoming free webinars. The technology Cookbooks include tips and techniques for managing public computers, and include direct quotes from librarians in the field. The cookbooks provide an excellent introduction to basic challenges and solutions of public computing, though they are a bit dated (information about specific software may be out-of-date). These three cookbooks can be downloaded in their entirety: Planning for Success, Recipes for a Five Star Library, and Small and Rural Libraries.
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